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Going Global
One of the best things about being Dean is getting to watch, firsthand, how our
students blend their life experiences, interests, and freshly learned skills to benefit the profession and their communities. One feature that stands out is the increasingly global aspect of their budding careers.

As I write this, second-year student Robert “Joe” Sexton is in Bosnia, working with a local attorney who is the “rule of law” monitor for the Human Rights Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in an internship secured with the help of the Career Services Office. One of his main responsibilities is to help to interpret the newly implemented criminal procedure code. Joe brought his military experience, his compassion, and exactly one life-changing year of law school to this undertaking. He will succeed because of his education, his skills, and his drive to “improve the lives of those affected by war.”


We’ve heard the saying that “all politics is local.” Today, virtually all law is now global. As Joe is learning, the longing for justice, equality, certainty and transparency – the benefits offered by the rule of law – is nearly universal, even while the mechanisms for achieving those characteristics vary from place to place. The globalization of law extends into other fields of public and private law as well. Thanks to “real time” communications and information technology, increasing mobility, and a global economy, attorneys who had envisioned helping “mom and pop” businesses now find themselves studying international property law in order to effectively protect small business interests. Domestic relations lawyers increasingly think in terms of legal issues across national – not merely state – borders.

The globalization of law also introduces a whole new set of operating assumptions for those of us who train lawyers. We must create a class of ‘lawyer generalists’ while at the same time continue to serve the profession’s need for legal specialists in emerging areas such as environmental, intellectual property, and business law. We must identify and tailor our curriculum to address emerging intersections of law with science, public policymaking, and politics. Finally, we have to do all of this in an environment circumscribed by the realities of finite resources. This requires imagination, focus, and the considerable, collective strengths of our faculty, staff, campus partners, and alumni and friends. I think we do it quite well.

Joe Sexton and his student colleagues whose horizons have been similarly broadened over the summer are just beginning to understand the fluidity and mystery that their unfolding careers hold. Here at home, we will continue the process of providing our students with the skills and training that will help them take advantage of the enormous opportunities that the expanding world of law presents. As always, we count on you to assist us in meeting the demands of the changing contexts in which our graduates will live and work. Thank you for your abiding support.

Toni Massaro
Dean Toni Massaro


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